No guesswork needed

Unveiling the new colour changing packaging are Insignia CEO Stephen Currie and Dr Debbie Allan.
Unveiling the new colour changing packaging are Insignia CEO Stephen Currie and Dr Debbie Allan.
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A NEWHOUSE firm has developed innovative packaging that makes it clear when food is out of date.

After receiving £800,000 of support from Scottish Enterprise, Insignia Technologies Ltd moved to BioCity at Newhouse, from where it has launched a range of intelligent inks for use as sensors in food packaging.

This follows research carried out by leading chemist Professor Andrew Mills, and a partnership with Novas Technologies Ltd from the University of Strathclyde.

All food has a use by date but on some packages the consumer is advised to use the food within a certain number of days of it being opened. However, peope often forget when something has been opened. With the Insignia device, once the seal has been broken the packaging starts to change colour and at a certain pigment the customer knows it is time to go in a bin.

With an estimated 18 million tonnes of edible food sent to landfill in the UK each year, Insignia CEO Stephen Currie felt something had to be done.

He said: “This is all about preventing food from going to waste. People open a packet of meat or cheese, then others go into the fridge and have no idea how long the packet’s been open, so they might not take the risk of eating it. Our new packaging will remove the uncertainty.

“It is something people have been trying to develop for a long time and we are delighted through our work with Strathclyde University and the support of Scottish Enterprise that we can finally bring it to market.”

The new packaging went through a successful trial earlier in the year and it is anticipated it will be seen on store shelves in 2013, with Insignia in discussions with firms in the UK, Europe and America.

Mr Currie added: “This is an eight billion dollar industry and we hope to grow the company from having eight employees and zero turnover at the moment to £10 million in three years and £40 million in five years, by which time we aim to have 20 employees.”